Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 4, 2012

Wednesday, 4 January 2012 –New Year personal philosophy, Iraq, Gaddafi, and the cricket, amongst other things!!

The major purpose for which I began to write these contributions, back in September 2006 was to share with those who cared to read them, events of interest to myself, both within Australia, and internationally,  sharing both my views and those of journalists and other media commentators, etc  – bit of an emphasise on politics, sport, music & the arts, and social issues generally. Some examples of what I’m referring to, appear later in this contribution.  Over the last year or so, my writings have broadened to encompass more personal day to day events, and I generally try and submit a contribution on each day. Occasionally we go missing for a few days, and suddenly you might find a consolidated approach which incorporates a number of days.  The things that are of particular importance to your ‘personal essayist’ [a title I modestly apply to myself] are  my community radio involvement, music, books, films, concerts, sport,  and commentaries on social and political issues, and admittedly, these often tend to dominate my contributions. While in ‘modern’ terms, most people would describe my writings as a form of ‘blog diary’, I don’t really like the word ‘blog’, hence you will generally find that I use the term ‘contribution’!

This is how I started on the 11 September, 2006  –  ‘My philosophy is that ‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’  but you make what you can of it, and treat everyone else as if that was the way you would like them to treat you.   The essence of life is friendship, and while a true and good friend may not always be easy to find [or to retain], once you have that special element of a real friend, you will remain so for life, I sincerely believe that.  This writer is a quiet natured guy, but who always remains loyal to his friends, and their interests, and enjoys the opportunity to share those interests, concerns, desires, whatever –    he has many interests and ‘hobbies’ [if that’s the right word] of his own which he will share at the appropriate time with any with a genuine interest in doing so.  Try me, I’d love to hear from ‘YOU’……………………………  whilst this initial  blog was on Yahoo360, I came into contact with a number of interesting people, but since that avenue disappeared, and I’ve transferred my contributions to other blog sites, that interaction has dried up, and it has become a little like many of my radio programs – I feel so often, as though I’m talking to myself. And yet there is, like the radio, always someone out there, listening [or reading], one simply doesn’t hear from them however.

My life is not really one of ‘adventure’, so if that is what is being searched for in the physical sense, you will probably be bored and/or disinterested. In fact, having just retired from full time employment, and subsequently not as young as I once was, that aspect of my daily activities will probably lessen further as time passes. I do live a ‘quiet’ life, despite many interests and a lifelong involvement in community organisations and work.  So with the beginning of a new year, I guess my future aims and prospects, in respect to both what I want to do with my life from hereon, and how I would like to continue with this ‘blog’ [if you like], are both up for reconsideration. As indicated previously, there is much I would like to achieve in the years ahead, but generally those ‘things’ don’t include world shattering experiences like international travel, late in life sporting achievements, or any kind of fame  – if  ambitions such as completing the writing of a family history, improving the look and quality of my garden, making headway through the reading of my large and varied book collection, or consolidating my involvement in community organisations such as the local radio society, and the family history society, together with other  like involvements, or a pride in activities of family or friends,  or simply seeing more of Australia – if those kind of things don’t sound exciting enough reading  –   well, I’m sorry, but I’m not really going to change a great deal because those things ‘represent’ the writer and his persona. But I’m always open to suggestions as to how I can attract more readers – happy to always consider those things, just so long as it doesn’t essentially force me to change my interests [which are admittedly wide and varied] because that means changing the person I am.  People who visit my home, for eg,  may express surprise at a lounge-room dominated by bookshelves and books [rather than, for example,  thousands of dollars worth of entertainment systems, etc] but then,  they have to accept ‘that is Bill’, his ‘thing’, and while another material items or activities on display may be another person’s ‘treasure’, books are my ‘gold and treasure’.  Of course there is a downside to that ‘love’  –  books take up a lot of space, and time [if moving], and I constantly worry about what will really happen to my book collections, when something happens to me!!

Anyway, over the days and weeks ahead, I shall return to those thoughts from time to time.  In the meantime, this morning, whilst I was referring to some of the day’s news headlines, on our local radio station, I was a little disturbed at one story –  The U-S led war in Iraq killed about 162,000 people, of which 79% [or 128,000] were civilians, including about 9,000 Iraqi police officers. The US military death toll in the period was 4,484 with roadside bombs the most common cause of casualties. These statistics related to the period 2003 until last month, and were compiled by a British non-government organisation called ‘Iraq Body Count’, one of the few organisations to keep a meticulous record of fatalities. Reporting in The Times, James Hider noted that ‘The worst scene of violence was Baghdad, hit by suicide bombings, stalked by death squads – many of them in the uniforms of the security forces –   and reshaped by a sectarian ethnic cleansing that has permanently changed the demographics of the city. Residents were 2 ½ times more likely to be killed than in other areas of the country………………….The violence peaked in 2006, when Baghdad felt the full brunt of sunni-versus-sh’ite violence fuelled by a ruthless al-Qa’ida bombing campaign that triggered a full-scale sectarian civil war’  The closing comment in that article illustrates the fear that many of us had, as to what would occur once the Americans left Iraq [irrespective of whether one believed they should have invaded in the first place]  – one Iraqi leader recently warned that Iraq risks sliding back into dictatorship and war ‘The prize, for which so many American soldiers believed they were fighting, was a functioning democratic and non-sectarian state…But Iraq is now moving in the opposite direction towards a sectarian autocracy that carries with it the threat of devastating civil war’. That seems to me to be a worse situation, than the state of the country, and at what cost – 182,000 lives, so far!!

As for another dictatorial leader, I see that the daughter of  Muammar Gaddafi [who was killed after being dragged from a drainage ditch in his home town of Sirte in August] is taking legal action to basically have the nature of her father’s death investigated, as a war crime.  While it seems rather hypocritical and ironic, in view of some of crimes against his people that Gaddafi has been accused of,  she is demanding, through her lawyer, why the International Criminal Court in The Hague is not investigating a ‘possible war crime’. Gaddafi was paraded, bloodied, but standing and talking, in front of rebels wielding guns. He was, apparently, sodomised with a bayonet, almost all of it caught on film. Then suddenly, he and his son Mutassim, who was also filmed alive in custody, were dead!  I have no sympathy for Gaddafi, but I have wondered at the manner in which he was killed under the circumstances described, and tend to agree with the view of the lawyer who has stated that ‘No matter what you might have thought of Muammar Gaddafi, this was a truly horrific act and in order to preserve the crime scene an immediate investigation should have been initiated’ [by NATO and/or other forces involved].

I mentioned above, the radio show I did this morning.  While it was rather difficult to want to get up at 5am this morning, once I was out and on my way, it was into a beautiful fresh morning  – overnight, a coolish change had moved into the area, and while during my time up at the station, Sunbury was hit by a severe thunderstorm and heavy rain [which at one point had me feeling that the power was about to go off in the studio], it was quite pleasant, though overcast outside, and any earlier reservations I might have had about going in this morning, quickly disappeared.  I was relieving for the regular Wednesday morning presenter [and still had a couple more weeks to do so], which meant 3 hours, of news, weather, music, etc from 6am to 9am. I enjoyed doing that program, and partway through it received one of those rare messages, that make this particular voluntary role worthwhile. That little message read as follows  –  ‘Great program Bill, got the sound up over the thunder; you have made my morning shine, thank you’!! 

For Australian cricket fans, today was a great day at the cricket. In Sydney it was Day 2 of the 2nd Test between Australia and India. I wasn’t really going to watch a great deal of cricket today, but with a wonderful Australian partnership, and some big scores in the offering, it was difficult not to resist!! Let’s have a look at the day, point by point.

  • At beginning of Day 2 play: Australia 3 for 116 [Ponting -44, Clarke -47]  in reply to India 191
  • At lunch break:  Australia  3 for 236  [Ponting – n.o. 97; Clarke – n.o. 103]
  • Ricky Ponting eventually out during the afternoon session for 134 Runs [faced 225 balls]  – his 40th Test match Century [69 scores of 50 plus]. Partnership between he and Michael Clarke was 288 runs [score was now 4 for 325]. Records of Ponting for Australia –  40 Test centuries; 22 of them in Australia; 6 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
  • Note:   Ricky Ponting – played 160 Test matches [273 Innings], now played 108 more Test matches than Don Bradman.
  • At the Tea break, the score was 4 for 349  –  Michael Clarke no 170 and Michael Hussey no 8.
  • During the Tea-Stumps session, no more wickets, but a further 133 runs were scored.
  • At Stumps, Day 2  –  Australia  4 wickets for 482 runs [291 runs in front of India] with Michael Clarke no 251 runs, Michael Hussey no 54 runs.  Clarke’s score is the highest Test score at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Cricket Australia described the day in this fashion.       ‘A career-high double century from Skipper Michael Clarke and a drought-breaking Ton to Ricky Ponting have left Australia in complete control against India on Stumps on Day Two of the Second Test at the SCG.  It was a day of total dominance for the hosts who piled on 366 runs for the loss of just one wicket to be 4-482 at stumps, leading by 291 runs with three days still to play.  Clarke (251 not out) and Ponting (134) set the tone with a breathtaking 288-run stand before Michael Hussey (55 not out) joined his captain in an unbeaten century partnership to complete a miserable day for the tourists.  While Ponting’s first Test century in 721 days kept the 30,077 crowd on the edge of their seats, the day belonged to his successor who pummelled a listless Indian attack to all parts of the SCG.  The captain smashed 31 boundaries and a six in his unbeaten 438-minute, 342-ball knock to post the highest ever Test score by an Australian at the SCG.  He surpassed Doug Walters’ 242 against the West Indies in 1968/69 with a blistering cover drive off Zaheer Kahn to cap a memorable day on his home ground’.

On the tennis front, there are a number of tournaments happen in Australia over the next couple of weeks as a lead-in to the Australian Open, but I notice that none of the free to air channels seem to be telecasting them this year. I did find one tournament was on a non-regular channel, so I let my wife’s mother know, that if she was able to get this particular channel on the TV set she had been given in the last year or so, there was tennis to be watched. She is a very enthusiastic tennis fan [at 91 years], and I knew that it was possible for her to get the matches, she would be watching!!  Meanwhile, about 45 minutes north of Sunbury, at a small place called Hanging Rock  [made famous by the novel ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’], they have two major horse race meetings each year at the small race track in the area – one on New Years Day, and one on Australia Day [26 January]. Last year, the Australia Day meeting had to be cancelled because the track was invaded by a mob of kangaroos, and for some reason, officials couldn’t get rid of them – a big disappointment to the crowd of up to 10,000 who normally attend what is a great family picnic day at the Hanging Rock races.  On Sunday last, in the midst of the heatwave conditions, a crowd of around 6,000 were on the course.  At the end of the first race on Sunday, after a horse stumbled about 150 metres from the finishing line, officials inspected the track, and found a large hole on the track, and because of the danger it posed to horses and riders, the meeting was cancelled after that first race!! Whilst similar instances have occurred at other country race tracks, it is a real disaster\ for this small club that depends on just two meetings per year. At this stage it’s uncertain whether the Australia Day meeting will be able to proceed or not!!

Just a brief comment or two on issues or events of the day that came to my notice >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I shall return!

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